July 01, 2015 04:59 PM

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Lisa Vanderpump knows a thing or two about drama — and how to avoid it.

The restaurateur and star of reality shows The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules, dishes in PEOPLE’s new Summer Food special edition (on stands now) on how to throw a cocktail party that’s memorable for the right reasons (i.e. not because someone got a drink thrown at her face.)

“I would never invite two people who don’t get on with each other to a sit-down dinner,” Vanderpump says, noting that a seamless event beings with the guest list. “But at a cocktail party you can put them at opposite ends of the room.”

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As for guests who have thrown back one too many appletinis, a host should feel comfortable cutting them off — tactfully, that is.

“Tell them, ‘I’ve just brought you over a nice black coffee,'” she says. “Take their drink and say, ‘You know, I really would like to talk to you about something. Could you come over here?’ If they ask for another drink, you tell them, ‘Oh no, we’re out of that.’ Generally you just say, ‘It’s time to go.’ Luckily, in the days of Uber, it’s really easy.”

Aside from steering enemies away from each other, a host should also go out of her way to connect people who don’t know one another.

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“Anytime you’re introducing people, find their common ground,” she says. Try: “Oh, So-and-so goes to this restaurant, and you go there too,” or, “So-and-so’s got a big dog; aren’t you dog-obsessed?”

“Then you can walk away and get on with your business,” Vanderpump says.

—Maria Yagoda

Pick up People’s Summer Food special edition, with more than 100 easy and delicious recipes from your favorite chefs and celebs, in stores now or available for download at peoplespecials.com

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